Mills, Mines and Minarets: A New History

June 2023 9781787389335 432pp
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


This popular history explores the cultural heritage and identity of Lancashire, stretching from the Mersey to the Lake District. Paul Salveson charts the county’s transformation from a largely agricultural region noted for its religious learning into the Industrial Revolution’s powerhouse, as an emerging self-confident bourgeoisie drove economic growth. This capital boom came with a cultural blossoming, creating today’s Lancashire.

Industrialists strongly committed to the arts endowed galleries and museums, producing a diverse world of science, technology, music and literature. Lancashire developed a distinct business culture, but this was also the birthplace of the world co-operative movement, and the heart of democracy campaigns including Chartism and women’s suffrage. Lancashire has generally welcomed incomers, who have long helped to inform its distinctive identity: fourteenth-century Flemish weavers; nineteenth-century Irish immigrants and Jewish refugees; and, more recently, ‘New Lancastrians’ from Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

This long-overdue book explores contemporary Lancastrian culture, following modern upheavals and Lancashire’s fragmentation compared with its old rival Yorkshire. What future awaits the 6 million people of this rich historic region?



‘An important account of Labour’s traditional, community-based values with many lessons for today’. — John Prescott, former MP, on Paul Salveson’s Socialism with a Northern Accent

‘As Paul Salveson shows throughout this book, love of our Lancashire countryside has always been at the heart of progressive working class politics.’ — Maxine Peake on Paul Salveson’s Moorlands, Memories and Reflections


‘The strength of the Lancashire people is within me. You get on and do it. There are no airs and graces.’ — Jane Horrocks, The Guardian

‘Salveson is strong, and offers an alternative history … his meticulous research provides a rich vein for future local amateur and professional historians.’ — Northwest Bylines 

‘In the early morning the mill girls clumping down the cobbled street, all in clogs, making a curiously formidable sound, like an army hurrying into battle. I suppose this is the typical sound of Lancashire.’ — George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

‘Put Lancashire right and you put England right. Settle the factory system, and you solve the social problem of the century. Wash the drooping Red Rose, clear the soot off its polluted petals, give it more soil and more fresh air to grow in, and when the flower of Lancashire is once more blooming England will become a flourishing garden of delight.’ — Allen Clarke, The Effects of the Factory System, 1895


Paul Salveson PhD, MBE is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bolton and Huddersfield. His academic career focussed on Lancashire dialect and literature; he later pioneered community railway projects across the UK. His books include With Walt Whitman in Bolton and Northern Rail Heritage. He divides his time between Bolton and Grange-over-Sands.

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